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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

War-Torn Exchanges

The Lives and Letters of Nursing Sisters Laura Holland and Mildred Forbes

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

War-Torn Exchanges

The Lives and Letters of Nursing Sisters Laura Holland and Mildred Forbes

Laura Holland and Mildred Forbes, an inseparable duo, set off from Montreal in June 1915 to serve as nursing sisters in the Great War. Over the next four years, the two cared for each other through sickness and health, air raids and bombings, unrelenting work, and adventurous leaves. This thoughtfully curated collection of their letters home paints a vivid account of nursing through the battles of Gallipoli, Passchendaele, and beyond. Mildred and Laura were remarkably forthright, revealing how they relied on friendship, humour, and professional ethics to carry on in the face of mismanagement, discrimination, deprivation, and trauma.


268 pages


Table of Contents

Introduction: Friendship and War

1 Journeying to War

2 Lemnos: “Poor Souls” and “Pathetic Sights”

3 Alexandria and Cairo: Mosques and Minarets

4 Salonika: In the Shadow of Olympus

5 England: Officers and Honours

6 France: Trauma and Taking Charge

Conclusion and Epilogue

Appendix: Laura Holland’s Travel Diary, 1907

Bibliography; Notes; Index

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